By Thomas Sellers Jr.
For the next two weeks, The Genuine Article will honor some of the recent area graduated student/athletes with the 2013-14 Who’s Who…
Ali Christmas &
I’ll admit it seems attractive people seem to have this label bestowed upon them each year. And both Brighton’s Ali Christmas and Munford’s Erik Furseth are candidates to model on a beach in a perfume ad for a magazine. But the real reason Christmas and Furseth are Best Looking for the Class of 2014 is there play on the field and court.
Christmas used a graceful style as a hitter for the Lady Cardinal Volleyball team. Then in softball, her swing was mechanically sounded and productive. She had speed and quickness in both sports helping her be a true leader by example.
Furseth was a leader for the Munford Soccer team from his goalie position. He led with his voice encouraging teammates and instructing them with tough love at times. Furseth caught spectators’ eyes with his command of the entire field. He also made some eye-popping plays with diving saves, mid-air magic in front of the net.
Most School Spirit
Iris Reyes &
It’s one thing to be an athlete and dedicate time to your sport, but when you take time to dress up, paint your body and make it to every big game, you are full of spirit. This year’s honorees are Millington’s Iris Reyes and Munford’s TJ Plymouth.
Reyes comes from a strong tradition of soccer players, and she concluded the Reyes’ run in Trojan Soccer this year. When her season was done, Reyes got busy going to basketball, softball and baseball games to root on her peers.
She wore special painted T-shirts, showed up to rescheduled games and even made road trips. While her soccer season was going on, she made it to every football game. One night she had to take the field to be crowned Homecoming Queen. Even the football players recognize her school spirit.
Up the road in Munford, Plymouth was busy playing football in the fall. But when the Cougars wrapped up the 2013 season, the speedy receiver turned quarterback transformed into a leader of the student section for basketball games.
Plymouth’s maroon and white torso at games was rewarded with both basketball teams making a deep run in Regionals. His face even made a few painted cameo appearances. The shoes of Plymouth will be hard to fill. The next in line will have to lead ‘Yo Baby, Yo Baby, Yo Baby, Yo,’ chants and do research on opponents for good heckles.
Virginia Moore & Andrea’ Bell
Tipton-Rosemark Academy’s Virginia Moore has charming swag, athletic swag and elegant swag. Getting her beautiful looks from her mother, Virginia will have a youthful face for a long time. But the little girl I met years ago has blossomed into a young lady. She was a leader for the TRA Lady Rebel Basketball team running point. She made clutch plays and set up her teammates to succeed.
When the games were over, Moore made sweats and T-shirts look cool and hip.
But when Moore cleaned up with a dress or evening wear, she had a glow about her. She shined off and on the court.
Bell had a fashion sense in football with how he wore his socks. Then in hoops, he transformed his defensive lineman skills into a tough post player with a trademark headband.
Bell like many of his peers these days, would mentally prepare for games with Beats handphones on his his cranium. During the basketball season, Bell would come fresh in his gear matching the Beats.
Quarterbacks had a hard time dodging him. And forwards across the area endured his sweet post game. And spectators admired his style.
Most Likely to Succeed
Emily Stewart & Charles Mosley
How do you defend success? Is it becoming a professional using the lessons from team sports to have a productive career? Or is it going to a SEC school and possibly reaching the NFL? Millington’s Emily Stewart and Brighton’s Charles Mosley are on those paths.
Stewart played goalie and infield for Lady Trojan Soccer and Softball respectively. She was phenomenal in goal this past season making diving saves and keeping her team in games with her effort. During the Softball season, the youthful Lady Trojans looked to their seniors for leadership and guidance. Stewart was there once again to answer the call with her bat, glove and encouragement.
She always had something good to say about her teammates, coaches and fans. With her intelligence and genuine spirit, I can see Stewart being a boss and leader in the professional world in a few years.
In a few months I might be watching Mosley play on the line for the Tennessee Volunteers. The highly recruited 6’5 standout made his announcement with his trademark mo-hawk.
Mosley is a gentle giant off the field. But when he places on his helmet, he transforms into a passionate football player. He gives his all for his teammates and coaches. Another motivating force for Mosley is his family. They were there on his announcement day in large numbers. They were the faces who supported him his entire journey. With that force behind him, and Mosley’s dedication to the game, Roger Goddell might be announcing his name in a few years.
Sierra Williams & Connor Alexander
Best overall is a combination of athleticism, intelligence, team-player and making things look easy. Two of the most gifted student/athletes in the area this past year were Millington’s Sierra Williams and TRA’s Connor Alexander.
They had the Midas touch. Williams helped the Lady Trojan Volleyball team win a postseason game and was a part of the 4x200m relay team to reach State. Meanwhile Alexander made a trip to Murfreesboro with his Rebel Baseball teammates. The team won 34 games with Alexander as the ace of the squad. Earlier in the year Alexander was the point guard of one of the best teams in Division II-A.
Williams was a combination of power, speed and finest on the court. She could beat you with a tip or a killer spike. Her main goal in volleyball was making her younger teammates better. Williams had an unselfish approach and did some coaching on the court.
That same mindset allowed her to be a part of successful relay teams in track. Williams ran her final meet for Millington at the place that will become her college home, MTSU. Murfreesboro will be graced by a talented and charming young woman.
Meanwhile Alexander will call Memphis his college home. And he will try to earn a spot in the Tigers’ rotation. Alexander’s signing to Memphis made history at TRA. And just like his female counterpart in this category, Alexander wasn’t worried about his personal success. He wanted to see Matt Moody dominate on the court and reach the 1,000 point plateau.
Alexander was more concerned with teammates achieving their best in the lineup during the baseball season. The entire time his natural ability shined. Both Williams and Alexander are hard to miss because they are some of the best overall.
Kendra Richardson & LaKeron Garcia
The Millington Star’s coverage area is filled with many wonderful athletes. I would be here all day naming them. But I had to single out a girl and a boy for the 2014 honor. To separate them all, I asked myself one question, ‘Who amazed you the most?’
The first two names to come to mind were Millington’s Kendra Richardson and LaKeron Garcia. Both were multiple sport athletes. Garcia played football and basketball for the Trojans.
He matured as a point guard this year playing tough defense and allowing players like Jordan Browning, Devynn Brandon and Roddarius Pitts shine.
Garcia did his shining on the gridiron. Nobody will forget his five touchdown performance at Brighton. His 30-point effort helped Millington win an overtime thriller against the Cardinals.
In December Garcia proved he loves big game moments. In the Liberty Bowl All-Star Game, Garcia made the Trojan Football family proud with three touchdowns including a punt return.
Garcia made it look so easy with his smooth running style. He would leap up and catch anything in the air and once he took a handoff defenders were shaking.
Shake and bake were a couple of the moves Richardson used on the hardwood. She was the LeBron James of the Lady Trojans this past season. The only senior, she had to be a leader in the locker room and then go out on the court to play some point and shooting guard. Then Richardson would play a little three and grab some rebounds with the power forwards and centers in West Tennessee.
That leadership role prepared her for another run at State in track. Her goal was to take teammates to Murfreesboro after reaching the High Jump finals her junior season. Richardson put aside personal gains for teammates. She reached her goal as part of the 4x200m relay team.
Most Likely to be a Comic
Jodie Duncan & Quinton Harrison
Laughing eases the tough parts of any job. Covering sports is a blessed job and had plenty of lighter moments. There were two players I could count on to keep a proper prospective on things, Munford’s Jodie Duncan and Millington’s Quinton Harrison.
Two of the best smiles in the business, Duncan and Harrison had this light that follows them. Both got serious when it came down to handling the business.
Harrison played on the defensive line for the Trojans and was a breakout star for the 2013 squad. And as one of the most improved wrestlers, Harrison reached State in the Heavyweight Division.
Duncan was the setter for the Sub-State Lady Cougar Volleyball team and was a key part of the Lady Cougar Softball team reaching a fourth straight State Tournament is past May.
Now that we’ve proven both can be serious, lets flashback to their crazy moments. Just go to youtube and view Duncan leading her team in a Harlem Shake.
Duncan wasn’t afraid to laugh at herself or break out in a dance. She’s like a red-haired Ellen, but even cooler.
Harrison keeps a straight face as he delivers classic one-liners. Through his dreadlocks, some of the funniest jokes flow.
The Harrison moment that stands out to me took place on the field. Reading a screen play perfectly, Harrison dropped back into coverage cutting off his pursuit of the quarterback. He was able to bat the ball into the air and was standing underneath the pigskin. As the ball floated down toward him, Harrison gave a quick peak to his path toward the end zone. Oh no, that was good enough for the ball to bounce off Harrison’s hand. For a moment he had the lineman’s dream in his hands.
In typical Harrison-fashion, he threw his hands to the air and gave the gesture for, “Why me?”